Centering Pregnancy

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Duke Health’s Centering Pregnancy program offers small-group prenatal care to people with low- and moderate-risk pregnancies. The provider-led group approach allows you to bond with and learn from each other during this life-changing experience. People who participate in Centering Pregnancy often forge friendships that continue long after their babies are born.

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Why Choose Centering Pregnancy

Centering Pregnancy includes one-on-one time with a provider; however, it goes beyond the traditional prenatal care visit by taking pregnant people out of the exam room and into a comfortable, welcoming group setting. There, you learn how to take your blood pressure and record your own health data. You also engage in discussions about the importance of good nutrition and exercise and how to manage stress, and you can get answers to your questions about labor, delivery, and more. During the 10-month program, you will develop bonds with others in your group and become better equipped for childbirth and how to care for your child.

Research Shows Centering Pregnancy Works
This approach to care was developed in the 1990s and is now used by more than 500 health systems globally. Research shows the program reduces the risk of complications that can be associated with pregnancy, such as gestational diabetes, premature deliveries, babies born with low birth weights, and postpartum depression. It also improves breastfeeding success and emphasizes the importance of well-care visits for your growing child. 

Low- to Moderate-Risk Pregnancy Care
While many of the people who participate in the program have low-risk pregnancies, people with conditions such as obesity or diabetes that put them at moderate risk for complications may also attend. If your pregnancy is considered moderate-risk, our providers connect you with Duke high-risk pregnancy specialists to ensure your pregnancy progresses safely.

Who Benefits
The program welcomes everyone who wants a pregnancy experience that includes a sense of community and empowerment, where everyone is welcome, respected, and appreciated, First-time mothers and shy people who are less likely to ask their doctors questions feel comfortable in the group setting. Research shows low-income families, people who speak limited or no English, and Black women who have a higher rate of a preterm pregnancy also benefit from Centering Pregnancy.

Program Incentives
People who attend a certain number of sessions will receive free equipment for their participation. Depending on how many sessions you attend, you may be eligible to receive one or more of the following: baby clothes bundle, safe-sleep bundle, baby carrier, car seat, or pack ‘n play.

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How Centering Pregnancy Works

Getting Started
If you have a confirmed pregnancy (test taken in a medical facility, not a home test), contact the Duke Family Medicine Center to request an appointment. We will discuss your options for pregnancy care, including the Centering Pregnancy program.

10 Group Visits    
At the beginning of your pregnancy, you will attend monthly prenatal care groups in-person with approximately 15 people who will deliver their babies around the same time. These two-hour sessions transition to twice a month toward the end of pregnancy. You will be assigned to a group and given the dates of all your appointments so you can set aside time well in advance. Partners and support people are encouraged to attend your visits as well.

One-On-One Time with Provider
Each visit will include a one-on-one, in-person meeting with your provider as well as a physical exam. Some of those visits will include imaging such as an ultrasound to check your baby’s progress and lab work. You can also discuss confidential issues with your provider.

Our Locations

The Centering Pregnancy Program takes place at Duke Family Medicine Center. Deliveries take place at Duke Regional Hospital.

Group Discussions
In-person monthly group discussions offer a comfortable, relaxed setting to discuss issues related to all stages of the pregnancy experience, as well as childbirth, caring for a newborn, going back to work, and family dynamics. These group visits provide opportunities to form bonds and lasting friendships.

Family Medicine Commitment to Continuity of Care
The doctors assigned to your group will likely be in the hospital at Duke Regional when you deliver your baby and/or care for your newborn in the hospital. We value this continuity of care and do our best to make it happen for every family.

Consistently Ranked Among the Nation’s Best Hospitals

Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why we are once again recognized as the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 11 adult and 9 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2023–2024.

This page was medically reviewed on 01/27/2023 by